There are still a couple of weeks to submit an abstract for the panel I’m co-chairing with Balaka Basu at NeMLA 2015, “Queer/Geek: Theorizing the Convergence of Fandom, Camp, and other Deviances.” Here’s the CFP:
46th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association
April 30 – May 3, 2015
The queer-, trans-, and geek-focused webcomic “Riot Nrrd” once joked about how disorienting it was to be at a geeky convention because there was no way to tell from the attendees’ appearance whether they were queer or just straight nerds. This confusion between identities points toward a much larger convergence of queer and geek cultures. Practices such as cosplay, fanfic (particularly slash), the foundation of homosocial communities (as with gamers) and other forms of geek/fan labor closely resemble those of camp, drag, and what Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick calls “reparative reading.” In fact, Sedgwick paves the way for this convergence with her suggestion that “queer” need not necessarily imply gay or lesbian but perhaps does fundamentally refer to shame, stigma, and practices of responding to those feelings with exuberant, performative adventures and deep attachment to cultural objects as resources of self-making and survival—especially in a world inimical to the people who do not conform to its expectations. Non mainstream sexual and gender expression, as well as creative experiments with post-human and other transformative identities or alter-egos, comprise important elements of various geek cultures. Meanwhile, the canard of the “fake geek girl” (like the pejorative “fag,” when applied to nerds and other outsiders in order to emasculate) reveals the deep strains of misogyny—as well as homophobia and white supremacy—that also run through geek culture. We seek papers that theorize queer and geek subcultures, identities, and practices with regard to their intersecting possibilities.
Please submit 300-500 word abstracts and a brief CV through the NeMLA website here: https://nemla.org/convention/2015/cfp.html#cfp15202